Democracy Dispatch

Democracy Dispatch

Vermont Conservation Voters’ Political Outreach Director, Justin Marsh, hosts a weekly conversation with legislators, energy and climate leaders, and environmental champions.

Episodes

May 13, 2024 49 mins

Advocates recap the eleven priority environmental and democracy policies taken up in the 2023/2024 biennium in the Vermont Legislature.

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On this week’s episode of Democracy Dispatch, we have a conversation with Senator Dick McCormack. The Windsor Senator recently announced his retirement from the legislature after more than three decades of service. He reflects on the pressing issues that the state faced in the late 80s and how they have evolved (or not) over time. He shares his inspiration for seeking the appointment to the Senate, his unwavering support for enviro...

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On this week’s episode of Democracy Dispatch, we welcome back to the podcast two statewide elected officials. Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas joins for a conversation reflecting on her first term in office including the challenges of responding to flooding and building new IT systems. She discusses the future of ranked choice voting in Vermont and two upcoming forums on the topic. She also explores the possibilities and co...

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Between Big Oil and toxic chemicals, it's time we clean up our act!

Just as the Vermont House passes S.25, a bill that would ban PFAS and other harmful “forever” chemicals from a slew of items including cosmetics, cookware, apparel, artificial turf, children’s products, and personal care products, it felt like a great time to hear from a national partner to see how Vermont stacks up when it comes to toxics reform. Gretchen Salter,...

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On this week’s episode of the Democracy Dispatch Podcast, I’m joined by our 2024 legislative intern, Cora Smith. We will have a conversation about her role and the interests that emerged while spending many hours reporting on committee discussions this year. Later, Cora takes the wheel as host for an interview with Kathy Beyer, Senior Vice President for Real Estate Development at Evernorth, an organization with offices across north...

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Lauren speaks with Rep. Amy Sheldon following the floor discussion and vote on H.687, a bill that would modernize Act 250. Justin recaps the America Votes State Summit in Washington, D.C.

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Kati Gallagher, Sustainable Communities Program Director at Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Catherine Dimitruk, executive director of Northwest Regional Planning Commission, join for a conversation about Act 250 reform and the proposed changes within H.687, a bill heading to the House floor this week. 

The two outline the bill's nexus with planning, walk through the location-based jurisdiction and tier structure, and how reg...

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Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden SE), chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs and Kristin Warner, Public Policy Manager at Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility discuss the roles of businesses in shaping policy, how businesses band together to stack a stand on climate protections, and the apprehension some feel about getting political in the first place. To assist in that c...

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With the legislature on break for Town Meeting Day, it seemed like the opportune time to sit down with Lauren Hierl, executive director, Vermont Conservation Voters, to discuss the policy priorities outlined in the 2024 Environmental Common Agenda and provide a progress report on each. 

We update you on the latest surrounding Act 250, climate resiliency, the Renewable Energy Standard, cleaner transportation solutions, neonicotinoid...

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Democratic Burlington City Councilor Joan Shannon and Progressive State Representative Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, both vying to be Burlington’s next mayor, answer the same set of questions on Burlington’s existing climate efforts and their vision for the future.

Senator Christopher Bray of Addison County talks about the advancement of S.213, the Flood Safety Act.

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Ashley Moore and Conor Kennedy are the chiefs of staff for Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden Central) and Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington), respectively. The two provide a peek behind the podiums, if you will, sharing details of their roles, what led them to this work, how they spend their rare free time, and their involvement in helping pass legislation.

Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittend...

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Marcie Gallagher, an environmental advocate with VPIRG, joins the podcast to discuss Vermont’s beverage container law known more commonly as the Bottle Bill. We unpack the history of the 50-year-old law, its importance, and the attempts and complexities surrounding modernizing it for today’s economy and consumer trends.

Representative Julia Andrews (D-Westford) talks about work in the Committee on Ways & Means and a bill that w...

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Senator Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden SE) and Representative Esme Cole (D-Hartford) are two trailblazing legislators on opposing ends of the age spectrum. They bridge wisdom and progress sharing their perspectives, their path to politics, experiences with ageism and misogyny, and priorities for the rest of this session. 

I also welcome back Representative Dara Torre (D-Moretown) to the podcast to hear more about a bill in the House Com...

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On the this week’s episode of the Democracy Dispatch Podcast, I have a conversation with Senator Rebecca White (D-Windsor) and Representative Gabrielle Stebbins (D-Burlington), co-chairs of the Climate Solutions Caucus. They share their environmental priorities for the session, how their caucus operates and moves policies forward, their personal thoughts on the biennium structure of the Vermont legislature, and where to go from her...

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Dams exist in almost every Vermont community. Some of us may pass them on our daily commute, some of us may live near them, use the reservoirs created by them, receive our electricity from them, or even have them on our properties. It’s not clear exactly how many dams are in Vermont, but according to recent reporting from VT Digger, experts believe the number is over 1,000, with an average age of 80 years, and some still in existen...

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This week we unveiled the 2024 Environmental Common Agenda, coalescing the priorities of a record 19 environmental organizations into one publication. We held a press conference in the state house with fellow advocates along with support from House and Senate leadership to give an overview of our collective priorities. Later that evening at a reception in downtown Montpelier we awarded Senator Anne Watson (D/P-Washington) and Repre...

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We last dropped a special episode in July in response to the catastrophic flooding that ripped through much of Vermont. Representative Dan Noyes (D-Wolcott) and I walked the streets of Johnson last summer to assess clean up efforts and talk strategies for the future, and he joins the podcast to give an update on progress and how his communities are recovering and responding to future flooding threats, like the ones we experienced j...

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July 31, 2023 30 mins

As Vermonters begin week four of clean up from the devastating flooding that occurred the week of July 10th, we hear from four legislators from across Vermont as they share stories from their communities and efforts of recovery. I walked the streets of Johnson with Representative Dan Noyes, assessing firsthand the damages and work to rebuild. I spoke with Senator Alison Clarkson of Windsor County, who shared how her h...

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On the Season Finale of the Democracy Dispatch Podcast, Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski discusses her role as Speaker, and House leadership’s priorities both currently and with an eye on the second and final year of the biennium. After passing the Affordable Heat Act this year, she lists the environmental policy priorities she hopes to see make it across the finish line by next year. Speaker Krowinski shares what led her to Ver...

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Wisconsin Conservation Voters’ Deputy Director, Seth Hoffmeister joins the podcast from the 2023 Conservation Voters Movement Conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. Seth shares about the incredible field organizing his organization led, resulting in successfully blocking a Republican supermajority in the Wisconsin House of Representatives. Despite being a majority democratic state, having elected Democratic Governor Tony Evers for...

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